Friday, January 4, 2019

Al Adaid Desert Challenge 2018 - (The Race)...when there's no road to victory.

I almost forgot, it's January 2019 and March is approaching. It only mean one thing for those who are following the MTB race calendar for this season, the Al Adaid Desert Challenge is expectedly in the air.

I had this blog created almost six months ago but unable to publish due to some reasons of torpidity in me. Aside from that, I was preoccupied by race events and other activities this season and being involved as one of the organizers really made me sluggish to initiate writing and make up with my pending posts like this.

Better late than never, here it goes...

With a welcoming weather gateway for the not so far approaching summer in the country, the organizers, media men, volunteers and race participants alike broke the calmness of the wind that early morning of March 02, 2018. I arrived in the venue having with me a huge expectation of myself, not that podium thing in mind but a quest to conquer the 40-km desert track over 6 challenging sand dunes to reach the finish line.

Take note, it's a full desert route and there’s no road!

This was my first attempt to join the race. I have been a volunteer crew since 2016.
Waves of sands...
...where the dunes meet the sea.
Desert monsters!
Pinoy Off-Roaders...ready to rumble! Our Pinoy pride vehicle support for the event.
This event was initially started just a fun race by Qatar Chain Reaction, an expat group of Mountain bike enthusiasts about eight years ago which was once called the "Inland Sea Traverse". The Qatar Cyclist later found to realize that this event would be somewhat distinctive event and as well foreseen to be a hit in the country and possible attraction for MTB race enthusiasts from the whole Gulf zone. Then in the very first inauguration race in 2016, this event concept was formally re-defined and renamed to "Al Adaid Desert Challenge" lifting up its level and became one of the top off-road cycling occurrence in the region.
The Route (Photo credit to Media Hub from
Race Format: “MTB Race – XCP, UCI Class 3 (point to point race) The race will run under UCI regulations. All participants ride on their own responsibility. Applicable Provisions – For all that is not regulated under this present regulation, the Commissaire Panel will apply the International Cycling Union regulations and the Qatar Cycling Federation regulations in compliance.” (excerpt from

All my race kit are packed and getting ready...but wait, I have to make sure sands won't get inside my shoes.
The race is about to start 
The actual race ground in action

First climb conquest but still more to traverse! Suffering has begun in the first dune but doing a sensual passion like this, fun outweighs the agony.
I had no other motto than "move on, there's no way back" for this race specifically.  There wasn't too technical and demanding pumps and flows or berms to show-off some cornering prowess but the trail was loaded with mixed affairs though, flowing sections with some sharp descents that made worthwhile and enough entertainment to riders.

Known as the inland sea and the desert marvel of Qatar, this area is boasted with several towering dunes. Tracks without trails are long and packed with sudden drops and unending sand traps. These features require commitment to proceed, so this made not in some way suitable for inexperienced riders.

I actually trained as hard as I can prior to this event. Cycling on sands is not that easy and there were several times you need to dismount and push your bike up the mountainous dunes. Portions like these made the course unforgiving, it made my knees overburdened and my leg muscles strained. I found it challenging, however, when I see other riders pushing hard too and of course the cheers from the field marshals boosted me even more. Having them on site was really a big added bonus!

Reached the finish line at last with my first major race medal this year!
Finisher's kit
Not too bad out of 151 Riders in my category
My experience in the Al Adaid Dessert Challenge-2018 was indeed remarkable. Not a usual trail for Mountain bike race formats but the event has proven a lot to justify.

Planning to race again in 2019? Well, watch it out!

To learn more about the Al adaid Desert Challenge, have a look at
(Photos are credited to UFMBQ Marshal Photographers and the media hub from

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Grand Eyeball - UFMBQ Season Opener 2018-2019

September 28, 2018 marks the UFMBQ's Grand Eyeball. An opening ceremony for the 2018-2019 riding season for the cycling community in the region. For about four years now, the Grand Eyeball has become an oral history under the United Filipino Mountain-bikers in Qatar (UFMBQ).

Photo credit: Jano Lindo

Fun and excitement filled the air, the laughter and chanting gulped the calmness of the surrounding mangroves lying peacefully across the shoreline in AL Thakira, located in the north side of Al Khor.

Photo credit: Jano Lindo
UFMBQ Board of Trustees - from left: Olga Robes, Ariel De Guzman, Almario Beltran, John Bonalos, Maricar Estacio and that's me at the back.
Other BOTs who were also present during the GEB: Andrew Tangonan and Eddie Padilla.
Standing beside me: Ricahrd Oliver of El Padyakeros - the lead host of the amazing venue.
Photo credit: Jano Lindo
Another photo of the UFMBQ BOTs. All men this time, from left: Ariel De Guzman, Me, Almario Beltran, John Bonalos and Marvin Herrera who also emceed almost all of our events and always bring humor every time he holds the microphone.

There were new faces, new groups, new friends, new jerseys and of course new bikes. Everything just seemed to be new for this brand new season except for the Board of Trustees who don't changed what they like and love to do. As long as the time permits, these fellows will continue to offer their precious time and effort for the sake of preserving sportsmanship and camaraderie within the band of this pedaling fraternity. The Board may not look new but this doesn't mean they're old, nobody can deny the fact that they are as young as one can imagine. Just look at the photos above and toss your judgementšŸ˜±.

Photo credit: Jose Ramil Carillo

Here it goes, a fun ride along the coastline that everyone was waiting for. Riders are about to traverse the seaside that features an easy type of trail riding condition. Even those beginners who joined were happy to complete the loop and finish the ride. After all, it was the natural beauty of the place that counted the most.

Photo credit: Jose Ramil Carillo
The rest of the organizers and affiliated group members preparing the tents and foods to be served after the ride. Meanwhile, all the riders are seen rolling in the background.

Photo credit: Jano Lindo
We dubbed this cliff as the Lion King. Posing with pride and glamour are the Queens and Princesses of Doha Chiqlistas.

What a pleasant weather up above, stunning view in the background and of course the beautiful, pretty, gorgeous, alluring ladies on top of the ridge...what more adjectives could I say...these pedaling chiqs will surely make your day!

Photo credit: Reno Doctoler Yes indeed, please SHARE THE ROAD!

Photo credit: Reno Doctolero
Finally, the riders time, Yeah!

The UFMBQ Grand Eyeball once again was a success. The door of the new season has now officially opened bringing new aspirations and excitement for the racing riders, a fresh adventure for explore-rides and a contemporary challenge for the whole cycling community to remain steadfast and unified.

On behalf of the UFMBQ President, Mr. John Bonalos and the Board of Trustees, we thank you!

Visit our website: #WeAreUFMBQ

 UFMBQ Affiliated groups/team logos in alphabetical order:

This blog will just be updated once the following affiliated groups and other new breeds have their logos ready:
  • Ten-O-Mile
  • Doha Chiqlistas
  • Banayad MTB
  • Braveheart
  • BMX 80's
  • Al Ahli Boyz n Gurlz
  • Scalawags
  • Pedal Pushers
  • Team Tamad
  • Team Fafa
  • Team Balut
  • Messaeeid Cockroach
  • PRQ-MTB Riders
  • Kyukem Bikers
  • Bike To Work
  • Foodyakers
  • Team Bro
Should there be any team/group not listed or want to be affiliated, please leave your comments.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

To all the bikes I've loved before...that traveled in and out my door

...I'm glad they came along...these are the bikes I've love before.

Inspired by the song, I realized that it's worth remembering all the bicycles that I've owned once in my life. They've been part of me and at least each one of them had peculiar characteristics and memorable tales.

And the song goes on...

1. 1998 GT Zaskar (Custom-built)
Frame: raw aluminum alloy frame custom-painted in sunrise yellow
Fork: Marzoochi Z2 '98
Drivetrain/Components: Non-series Shimano Brake set; Acera front & rear derailleurs on 3 x 7 speed Shimano Gripshift with 21-speed Acera cranks coupled on non-series cassette
Can't remember the tires and wheel set brand but the rims were double-wall and aerodynamic

2. 2002 Schwinn Fastback Comp
Frame: Tig welded aluminum with Cane Creek Headset
Fork: Reynolds Ouzo Comp Carbon
Drivetrain/Components: Shimano 105 Dual Pivot brakes with Dual Control shift levers; Shimano 105 dual ring crankset coupled on 9-speed 12-23 teeth rear cogs; Kalloy SP248 seatpost, 3T Start handlebar; Selle Italia XO saddle
Wheels: Velomax Circuit Comp 24/28 holes rims on Velomax Circuit Comp hubs laced with stainless steel double-butted spokes fitted with 700 x 23c Michelin Axial Pro tyres

3. Giant SCR 2
Frame:ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum
Drivetrain/Components: Shimano Sora front and rear derailleurs; Shimano Sora shifters and brakeset with Tektro Performance Road R310 levers; Giant SCR ALUXX SL handlebar, stem and seatpost; Giant Performance Road saddle
Wheels: Giant 28H Double Wall rims on Giant Alloy 28H hubs laced with Stainless steel spokes fitted withKenda Kontender K-196 700 x 26C tyres

4. 2012 Merida Road Race
Frame: Race Comp-Single Aluminum with A-Head headset
Fork: Road Oval Straight Carbon
Drivetrain/Components: Shimano 2300 front and Shimano Sora SS rear derailleurs; Shimano Sora shifters with Shimano Road Dual-Pivot brake set and  levers: Shimano Sora crankset coupled on Sunrace CS-R6 cassette; Comp CEN OS Stem and  handlebar; Merida Sport saddle
Wheels: Merida Road Alexims White rims on Shimano 2200 hubs laced with silver stainless steel spokes fitted with Maxxis Detonator tyres

5. 2012 Trek 3700 Series
Frame: Alpha Silver Aluminum with semi-integrated head tube, disc compatible dropouts & replaceable derailleur hanger     
Fork: Suntour XCT, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: 3 x 7-speed Shimano Altus Shifters and Rear Derailleur; Tektro Linear-pull brakes; Shimano Tourney front Derailleur, Crankset and Cassette; Bontrager SSR Stem, seatpost and handlebar; Bontrager Forged threadless headset
Wheels: Bontrager 550 36-hole rims on Formula FM21 front/FM31 rear hubs with machined sidewalls fitted with Bontrager LT3 26 x 2.0 tyres

6. 2013 Trek Wahoo Gary Fisher Collection 
Frame: Alpha Gold Aluminum, butted & hydroformed tubing, G2 Geometry 
Fork: Rockshox Reba Dual Air with Remote LO (upgraded)
Drivetrain/Components: 3 x 10 speed full Shimano Deore XT groupset (upgraded); Control Tech cockpits (handlebar, stem & seatpost)
Wheels: Shimano XT M785 factory-build wheelset (upgraded) fitted with Bontrager 26 x 2.1 stock tyres

7. Jamis Dakar XCR Race Expert '09 (Custom-built)
Frame: Kinesium alloy main triangle, STW optimized 7005 seat and chainstays with Fox Float RP2 shock
Fork: Rockshox Reba Dual-air with remote LO, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: 3 x 10 speed full Shimano Deore XT groupset; Thompson Stem and seatpost; Truvativ handlebar
Wheels:  DT Swiss X1600 fitted with tyre combo Continental Race King at the rear and Michelin Wild Race R2 upfront

8. Dunlop Quadmax (Custom-built) 
Frame: OEM Aluminum frame
(all below parts & components are stripped off from Trek Wahoo Gary Fisher frame, item #6)
Fork: Suntour XCT, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: Shimano Altus 3 x 8 speed shifters, Front & rear derailleur; Shimano Acera M171 tripple Crankset coupled on Shimano HG31 Cassette; Bontrager Evoke 1 saddle; Bontrager SSR seatpost; Bontrager Low Riser Stem; Bontrager SSR threadless Headset; Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes w/Tektro adjustable-reach alloy levers
Wheels: Formula DC20/DC22 alloy front/rear hubs w/Bontrager AT-650 32-hole double-walled disc rims

9. 2012 Cube Aim CMPT Competition Line (Custom-built)


Frame: Kinesium alloy main triangle, STW optimized 7005 seat and chainstays with Fox Float RP2 shock
Fork: Suntour Epicon with remote LO, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: 3 x 10 speed full Shimano Deore XT groupset; Thompson Stem and seatpost; Truvativ handlebar
Wheels: DT Swiss X1600 factory-build Wheelset with Shimano XT hubs fitted with Continental Race King 26 x 2.25 tyres

10. Fuji SLM Carbon 4.0 (Custom-built)
Frame: C-7 High Modulus carbon with re-inforced I-beam and integrated T-T construction
Fork: Rockshox SID Dual-air with remote LO, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: 3 x 10 speed full Shimano Deore XT groupset; Thompson stem, seatpost and handlebar
Wheels: Shimano XT M785 factory-build wheelset fitted with Schwalbe Burt Evo Snakeskin 26 x 2.1 tyres

11. 2011 Giant Reign 0

Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum, 6" Maestro System
Fork: Fox 32 Talas FIT RL with 15QR Thru-axle and Tapered stereer, 120-150mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: Full 2 x 10 Shimano Deore XT drivetrain (crankset, cassette, front & rear derailleurs); Giant LTD edition Avid Elixir CR brake sets with 160mm rear rotor and 185mm upfront.
Wheels: Giant LTD edition DT Swiss Tricon M1700, 15mm front axle laced with DT Swiss Tricon aero-spokes fitted with Kenda Nevegal, 26 x 2.35 tyres

12. 2011 Giant Anthem X Advanced (Custom-built) 

Note: This Giant Anthem Advance is a 29er frame in 27.5 wheels
Frame: Advance-grade composite with ALUXX SL rear traingle, 4" Maestro system
Fork: Manitou Marvel Pro 15mm TA, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: Full Shimano 1 x 11-speed XTR M900 Race drivetrain (crankset, cassette, shadow-plus rear mechanism; Formula R1 Disc brakeset with 160mm rear and 180mm upfront floating rotors
Wheels: DT Swiss XR 1501 factory-build wheelset fitted with tubeless Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snakeskin Pace-Star front and Schwalbe Thuder Burt Evo Snakeskin Pace-Star in the rear

13. 2016 Cannondale Trail 4

Frame: Optimized 6061 Alloy
Fork: Rockshox XC30 with Poploc remote, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: 1 x 11 Shimano Deore XT drivetrain (upgraded); house brand cockpits; Tektro Auriga Hydraulic brakes with 160mm rear disc rotors and 180mm upfront
Wheels: Alex DC 4.0 factory build wheelset fitted with WTB Bee Line 27.5 x 2.0 tyres

14. Merida XC

Frame: Techno Forming System AL6061 Robot Welded
Fork: Suntour Raidon, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: Full 3 x 10 Shimano Deore XT drivetrain (crankset, cassette, front & rear derailleurs); LTD Edition Shimano XT Servo-wave brake set.
Wheels: Mavic Crossride factory build fitted with Maxxiss Crossmark 26 x 2.1 tyres

15. Tropix Mig 17 T+

Frame: Full Carbon
Fork: Magura TS4 DLO2 Air Control, 100mm Travel
Drivetrain/Components: Full 2 x 10 Shimano Deore XT M8000 drivetrain (crankset, cassette, front & rear derailleurs); Magura MT2 Hydraulic Disc brakeset with disc rotors of 160mm rear and 180mm upfront; house brand seatpost, stem & handlebar
Wheels: Mavic Crossmax SL Pro WTS factory build wheelset fitted with 27.5 x 2.1  Mavic Pulse tubeless tyres

16. My Fantasy...
My dream bike for now...Nino Schurter's SCOTT Spark RC 900 World Cup Edition

I love cycling, that's what I can say.

...for it brings inner peace deep in my soul.

...and indeed, love for cycling is like a song that clings to the deepest chamber of my heart forever.